Earth & Environment

The "third rock from the Sun"—Earth. With an orbit neither too close nor too far from the Sun, it occupies a unique position in the Solar System. It's the only planet known to man with the right conditions for the origin and evolution of life. During Earth's 4.5 billion-year history, a combination of processes has transformed it into a watery blue, living planet. The Earth's ecosystems involve complex interactions between the biological (living) and physical (non-living) worlds. Scientific research helps us comprehend our effects on the environment and how the environment in turn responds to impacts of our activities.

NSF Science Now: Episode 52

In this week's episode, we discover why freshwater lakes are becoming saltier and the role temperature plays in the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, explore a new device for combatting Parkinson's disease, and finally, learn how to excite girls about STEM

Why is Texas shaking?

The new TexNet Seismic Monitoring Network is helping to locate and determine the origins of earthquakes in Texas

Palau coral reefs have a global impact

Humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Through a process called ocean acidification, about a quarter to a third of this carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, causing a decrease in the pH of ocean water

Confessions of a marine biologist

Mike Gil, a postdoctoral scholar at University of California-Davis, will be one of 20 international fellows who will give talks at TEDGlobal in Arusha, Tanzania, in August

Every last drop

Each year 12 competitively selected undergraduates fly to Australia to work alongside PIRE researchers as they conduct field work to look at engineering, ecological, and social science aspects of Melbourne's green storm water infrastructure

The Terraformer: One-of-a-kind wind tunnel for hazards engineering

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Masters and a team at the University of Florida are developing a world-class facility with new technology to help engineers and scientists better understand the high-wind storms that batter communities along U.S. coastlines

Was this how dinosaurs began flying?

If a Pacific parrotlet needs to get to a nearby branch, it uses its legs to jump. If a target falls just outside of its jump range, however, it can add a "proto-wingbeat," a small flapping motion that allows it to travel farther without using as much energy as full flight.

Semiconductors for an energy efficient future

Lisa Porter, professor of materials science and engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University, discusses her research on semiconductor materials and devices, especially those that enable new technologies for a more energy-efficient future.

Researchers tackle tornadoes!

An NSF-funded research team at the University of Oklahoma's Advanced Radar Research Center hopes that their radar simulator can assist researchers and meteorologists in better understanding how debris interacts with deadly tornadoes.

Farming the sea

Maine's Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) helps support University of Maine research and educational outreach related to the farming of aquatic organisms